ST. MARTIN PARISH, La. (KLFY)- There are nearly 2,000 wild crawfish fishermen in Louisiana, but none will receive stimulus funds from the CARES Act.
“We are hard-working, red-blooded Americans that go out on the waters, the navigable waters of the U.S., and catch those crawfish for the people, and we don’t get any stimulus from the government or anything,” Jody Meche, a wild crawfish fisherman from Henderson, said.
Meche says he’s one of the thousands in Louisiana frustrated that they were left out of the relief recovery funds of the CARES Act.
“I sent a letter back on March 30 through my senator, Fred Mills, to the congressional delegation pleading with them not to let our wild crawfishing families out of the CARES Act money, and I think we were deliberately left out,” he said.
He says it’s frustrating not getting financial help, but it’s even more concerning that crawfish farmers qualify for relief funds while wild crawfish fishermen do not.
“The crawfish farmers qualify for relief money, and we absolutely qualify for nothing. We don’t qualify for a dollar,” he said. “You can’t give me a justifiable reason why farm crawfish qualify for relief and wild crawfish and the crawfishermen who catch them don’t qualify for relief. You can’t justify it to me, so I can’t understand why our congressional delegation left us out.”
Meche says it’s unlikely that wild crawfish fishermen will be able to recover from this season without relief money.
He’s been an advocate for wild crawfish fishermen, pushing Louisiana officials to do more to help, but so far, the future is not looking bright.
“The farmers are getting probably millions of dollars, and we are getting absolutely nothing,” he told News 10.
He says many wild crawfish fishermen will be forced to shut down if help doesn’t come soon.
Louisiana Senator Fred Mills is pushing the Louisiana Congressional Delegation to include wild crawfish fishermen in the recovery efforts of the CARES Act.